Last year we put out a web video called “Can You Freeride a 29er?” which got passed around pretty well and generated a lot of discussion. Since then we’ve seen a massive paradigm shift in terms of people’s attitudes towards 29ers, especially in the all-mountain/enduro segment of the population. And yeah, the bikes are a ton better as well.
For the film shoot we shot Geoff at Hartland in some pretty nasty conditions, where the combination of the bigger wheels and the Schwalbe Hans-Dampf tires really showed off how grippy and predictable they could be. While the bike wasn’t as fast as the full-blown XC bikes that excel at Hartland, it climbed surprisingly well. Andrew then took the bike out to Tzouhalem and some local bigger-bike lines to see how the bike did in the air.
As Andrew says in the video, “you’re probably not going to win Crankworx on (the WFO),” but that’s not really the point of the bike. For people who want a bike that will excel in choppy, technical AM/XC conditions, but who still want to get rowdy on a regular basis, the WFO should be on their list.
What do you think? Will the current breed of long-travel 29ers be the answer for folks who want a do-it-all bike, or are the compromises simply too much to overcome? From our shop’s perspective, the former seems more likely; between the Niner WFO9, Stumpjumper 29er, Norco Shinobi, and Santa Cruz Tallboy LT, there are more and more fantastic options for rowdy wagon wheel riding.